November 12, 2016 / 8:22 AM / 3 years ago

Botswana identifies buyer for ailing Chinese-built power plant

GABORONE (Reuters) - Botswana will not sell back its troubled 600 megawatt power plant to the Chinese company that built it, as had been widely expected, and will instead offload it to a different Beijing-controlled firm, according to government documents seen by Reuters on Friday.

Documents from the Ministry of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security showed that negotiations with China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) will start soon over the proposed sale of the coal-fired station.

The power plant was built by an another Chinese company, China National Electric Equipment Corporation (CNEEC) at a cost of $970 million, but has broken down repeatedly since commissioning in 2012, leading to a reliance on diesel generators and imports from South Africa.

It is not clear if there is any relationship between the company that built the plant, CNEEC and the potential buyers, CMEC. On its website, CMEC says it operates in 150 countries and is a part of the Sinomach group of companies.

Writing by Mfuneko Toyana; Editing by James Macharia

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